Do creams work on hemorrhoids?
I now have hemmorhoids out of the blue. I'm 42 and wondering about over the counter creams. Do they work?
There are a number of options to treat hemorrhoids in addition to the treatments found over the counter. First, it's important to know that there are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding and discomfort, but are typically not painful, whereas external steroids are supplied by a different part of the nervous system and can be quite painful. First, and perhaps the most important is to change your bowel habits to help prevent them from continuing to occur. Hemorrhoids occur because of an increase in pressure inside your abdomen that can occur from a number of reasons including straining while having a bowel movement. To prevent straining you should eat a diet that is rich in fiber and also stay well hydrated. These measures alone may significantly reduce your symptoms. The next simple treatment is topical steroids which can decrease symptoms of itching and discomfort. A primary care doctor can prescribe either topical steroids for external hemorrhoids or steroid suppositories for internal steroids. However, it is important to know that steroids should only be used for occasional and short-term treatment. If the hemorrhoids are more significant there are other procedures that can treat them. The first option is banding of the hemorrhoids, which is frequently the most successful. A band is placed around the hemorrhoids which will cut off the blood supply and cause the hemorrhoid tissue to die and slough off. If this therapy is not successful two other options are sclerotherapy where a chemical agent is injected into the hemorrhoid tissue and causes the tissue to slough off and scar. Another option is called infrared photocoagulation which uses infrared radiation to achieve the same results. However, with all of these options it is important to see your primary care physician who can evaluate your hemorrhoids and help direct you to the appropriate therapy.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.
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